2019 NBA Draft | Kyle Ratke's Big Board (2.0)
With the draft rapidly approaching (Thursday, June 20), our Kyle Ratke and Julian Andrews have decided to give you their first-round prospects. This is not a mock draft and most certainly does not reflect the views of the Basketball Operations Department. We are just two writers who watch a lot of basketball. With that being said, this was insanely difficult to put together. Here's a look at Ratke's second big board.
1. Zion Williamson, PF, Duke
DUH. Williamson didn’t take part in any Combine activities because he doesn’t need to. No. 1 pick, here he comes.
2. Ja Morant, PG, Murray State
I have concerns about Morant’s build and shooting, but he’s a dynamic playmaking point guard who would rather pass than shoot. Seems like a good-character kid, too.
3. R.J. Barrett, SF, Duke
I don’t know what to think of Barrett. His lack of 3-point shooting is concerning, but he is a big wing who could be pretty valuable defensively if he puts in the work.
4. Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
Garland played in only five games with Vanderbilt before injuring his meniscus. He’s rising up draft boards and there was plenty of buzz around him at the Combine, something he left early. You know what that means . . .
5. Coby White, PG, North Carolina
Maybe this is too high for White and it might take him a few years to find his rhythm in the NBA, I’m just really intrigued by his size (6’4.75) and his speed. Next is figuring out whether his shot will translate. His release is a little tricky.
6. Cam Reddish, SF, Duke
Reddish was supposed to a be a top-three pick heading into his freshman season, but he was a streaky shooter and that was supposed to be his strong point. A team could take a gamble on him earlier than this spot.
7. De’Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia
Hunter is solid. At 6’7, 225 pounds, he’s a player who will be able to contribute on both ends of the court. In case you haven’t heard, shooting is important in today’s NBA. Hunter shot 48.3 percent from deep and is the ultimate 3-and-D guy.
8. Jarrett Culver, SF, Texas Tech
There is concern about Culver’s 3-point shot. He shot 38 percent as a freshman from deep, but that dropped to 30 percent as a sophomore. Why will he succeed? Because he loves basketball and will put the work in
9. Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga
People freaked out about Clarke’s wingspan at the Combine. It’s almost like we’re forgetting that he blocked 3.1 shots per game in college. He’s a team-first player and will do whatever it takes to get on the court. His shot looked greatly improved at the Combine.
10. Sekou Doumbouya, SF/PF, Limoges CSP
With the success we’ve seen from Pascal Siakam in the playoffs, it’s hard not to get excited about the potential of Doumbouya, a player who isn’t close to being fully developed. In three years, this could be the steal of the draft.
11. Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas
Hayes is pretty slight for a big man and will need to put on some weight before he can contribute in the NBA. But he’s uber athletic and projects to be a solid lob guy and a rim protector.
12. Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga
There aren’t a lot of players in the lottery that have crazy upside. I think Hachimura could be one of those players. He’s improved every season in college and if he finds the right development team, he could continue to progress as a scorer who can shoot.
13. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Virginia Tech
I think Alexander-Walker will rise up draft boards much like his cousin, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, did last year. He’s a versatile playmaker and should be a player he can guard at least two positions. His 3-point shooting is a little bit of a concern.
14. P.J. Washington, PF, Kentucky
Washington is a big man who is undersized at 6’8, but he’s tough and has very nice footwork. He could end up being a nice stretch 4 for a team considering he shot 42.3 percent from deep last season on 78 attempts.
15. Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky
I don’t know how high Herro’s ceiling is, but his floor is relatively high as a shooter. He’s not the greatest athlete and is a liability on defense, but his scoring will be his bread and butter at the next level. He could surprise us much like Kevin Huerter did last year.
16. Nassir Little, SF, North Carolina
Little didn’t show much at UNC as a freshman, but maybe that’ll change in the NBA when his main focus will likely be as a defender and improving his 3-point shot.
17. Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana
Langford’s main skillset is supposed to be as a scoring guard, but he couldn’t shoot from the 3-point line (27.2 percent) last season and isn’t a great passer. It feels like Langford will have a long ways to go, and maybe a new shot, to make an impact in the league.
18. Bol Bol, C, Oregon
Can he stay healthy? He’s big at 7’2.5, but he weighs just 208 pounds. He has an offensive skillset that extends to the 3-point line which is intriguing, but he’ll need to prove he can stay on the court to prove it.
19. Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC
Porter Jr. looks the part, but some of his game is a little too mixtape and not winning basketball. He could be a solid scorer at the next level, but there are a lot of things to figure out about his game offensively, mostly whether he’ll need to change his shot.
20. Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina
Man, the more I think about it, the more I think Johnson should go higher. He carried himself incredibly well at the Combine and could be a guy who helps from the first day as a floor spacer, much like we saw from Landry Shamet in 2018-19.
21. Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee
Undersized as a power forward, who might have to play more of the three in the NBA, which means he’ll need to improve his shooting. A very tough player, though, and isn’t afraid to do the little things.
22. Jontay Porter, F, Missouri
I know, I know. The Porter family injury history is scary and Porter is coming off back-to-back torn ACLs, but if he can stay healthy, he’s a playmaking forward who can handle the ball and pass. I think he’s worth a shot.
23. Goga Bitadze, C, Buducnost
He’s a tough big man who won’t let someone back him down. He has a solid offensive game down low. Don’t be surprised if he develops a 3-point shot. He’s not exactly what I’d call the quickest defender, though.
24. Talen Horton-Tucker, SF, Iowa State
He’s got a weird body for the NBA, 6’4 and 235 pounds, but he makes it work. He’s a solid passer and a good rebounder for his size. He’ll be 18 when the 2019-20 season starts, so there’s plenty of time for him to develop.
25. Keldon Johnson, SF, Kentucky
I really enjoyed Johnson at the Combine, but a lot of his skillset depends on his effort, which is really good. But his athleticism is problematic. He could make a career for himself if he can continue to hit down shots from deep.
26. Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington
There’s little doubt that Thybulle should be able to contribute defensively right away. He’s 6’5 and has a 7’1 wingspan. He’ll be able to guard multiple positions. So why is he so low on this list? He needs some work offensively.
27. Nicolas Claxton, C, Georgia
Claxton, a sophomore, decided to remain in the NBA Draft after the Combine, which means he feels good about his draft status. Claxton is a big who can handle the ball and could hypothetically be a big man who can guard perimeter players. It will take time, though. He needs to add strength.
28. Ty Jerome, G, Virginia
Jerome is a player who has a great feel for the game. He’s not uber-athletic, but his basketball IQ makes up for some of that. He reminds me a lot of a Jeremy Lin or Greivis Vasquez type player.
29. Luguentz Dort, SG, Arizona State
Dort has tools to be a really good defender. He’s very strong. Offensively, he doesn’t stop moving, even if he doesn’t have a dependable jump shot. Reminds me a little bit of Timberwolves wing Josh Okogie. The effort is there.
30. Chuma Okeke, PF, Auburn
Okeke tore his ACL in March, so I could see him falling further than he should. He’s a hustle player defensively and we could see him become a solid 3-and-D power forward.